U R Fighting a Battle (how counting breaks through fear)

I am sitting on my back porch watching a mama bird feed her babies. There are two birds — the Daddy caws protection from predators, and Mama returns with tiny worms.  Three bright yellow beaks gape open wide, the babies squeal shrill when she feeds them. Not so different from our life here.

photo courtesy of Mike Giles via StockSnap
photo courtesy of Mike Giles via StockSnap

Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of More Value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  

– Matthew 6:26-27, emphasis added

When I read this verse, I know God has me in His nest. But my heart gapes open wide; I’m still afraid, if we can just be honest here.

Just when you are pressing into breakthrough, everything breaks … through. Everything splinters and cracks and you can’t catch it all with your hands. Just when it looks like you are getting what you think you want, you lose what you really want.

Knees meet carpet, three times a day, Daniel-style.

Count ten times I was faithful to you, the whisper is sure. 

I count. Remember.  1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.  Prayers answered. Promises true. Dreams fulfilled.

As soon as I’m done counting, I question. He won’t be faithful in this hard thing, I worry, which is no harder than the others when it comes to heaven’s gates flying wide open.  

Another 10? Why not. I count. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Heart still gapes, fearful. Ten more ways He has been faithful? 

21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

When tears smear the night with begging, I’m the beggar and He’s the giver and everything He gives is grace, and I say it out loud, I trust you.

I read: 

Sometimes God sends severe blasts of trial upon His children to develop their graces. Just as torches burn most brightly when swung to and fro … so the richest qualities of a Christian often come out under the north wind of suffering and adversity. Bruised hearts often emit the fragrance that God loves to smell. (L.B Cowman, Streams in the Desert, p. 236)

and more …

“He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater, He sendeth more strength when the labors increase; To added affliction He addeth His mercies; To multiplied trials His multiplies peace.” (p. 235)

I comb the words through again, braille on the page. In  the burdens we find grace, in the labor, strength; in the affliction, mercy. Trials lead to peace?

Each year,  I hunt. Last year I hunted for joy, and I found it sparkling in the most familiar places; the hunt never ceases. This year, I said I’d hunt for peace.

To multiplied trials, His multiplies peace.

Multiply for us, Lord, those character traits we have yearned for, and if it is through storms we see the rainbows, so be it.

Meanwhile, I will count. 31. 32. 33. 34. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. I expect to get to a hundred by the end of the week.

To count the ways He has been faithful, to remember the miracles, knowing you are a miracle — yes you, the walking resurrection — to remember breathes life into dry bones — yes, even these that look as dust.  

As Ann Voskamp says, “When what He gives doesn’t look like near enough … when it looks like a handful instead of a plateful, a year full, a life full … Do not disdain the small. He gifts with seeds as small as moments, grace upon grace, and the unlikely here and now. Our enough is always in the now, because He never leaves us.” – (One Thousand Gifts Devotional, p. 102)

So the moments are gifts, the memories are gifts, and we shall count them. And in His faithfulness we shall rest.

Morning after morning, the Mama bird keeps coming back with worms to fill those gaping beaks. So I gape open and bit by bit, He gives our daily bread.

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